American Food Cultures
aspeers is the first and currently only peer-reviewed print journal for MA-level American studies scholars in Europe. It is a platform for the best work done by American studies graduate students below the PhD level. It aims to foster academic exchange among young Americanists across Europe, and to thereby advance the field as well as its genuine European perspective on ‘America’ and its presences and effects around the world.
aspeers features a general section in addition to a topical one that brings academic and creative works into a dialogue on one common theme. For the upcoming issue, this topical section will be organized around food and its cultural relevance for 'America.' Please feel free to send in work to have it considered for publication in aspeers if
- you are an American studies student at a European university and are looking to publish a paper without a topical restriction.
- or you are an American studies student at a European university and are looking to publish a paper on food cultures in relationship to American culture.
- or you are an artist looking for a venue for work that deals with food and eating in the context of 'America.'
Please see the following Calls for Papers for details. Please also note our style guide at www.aspeers.com/style that will give you many helpful instructions on how to prepare your submission for maximum success.
|academic contributions [general]||due 30 October 2011||html|
|academic contributions [topical]||due 30 October 2011||html|
|open submission section||due 27 November 2011||html|
For the general section of its fifth issue, aspeers seeks outstanding academic writing demonstrating the excellence of graduate scholarship, the range of concerns scrutinized in the field, and the diversity of perspectives employed. We thus explicitly invite revised versions of term papers or chapters from theses written by students of European Master (and equivalent) programs. For this section, there are no topical limitations. Contributions should be up to 10,000 words (including abstract and list of works cited). The submission deadline is 30 October 2011.
A familiar proverb tells us that ‘we are what we eat.’ Indeed, food is not only a daily necessity to sustain the body. The need for food, its production, its preparation, and its consumption turn it into an important cultural site and a crucial analytical category. Studying ‘food’ accordingly brings together a number of academic fields ranging from biology and agriculture to sociology, political science, history, and literary and cultural studies, to name just a few. In their interdisciplinary openness and diverse cultural significance, food cultures are central to American studies.
For historians, food offers a particular ‘lens’ through which to view historical events. Using it to look at, for example, the Civil War would highlight the underlying agrarian crisis and the transformations in the ‘domestic sphere’ expressed in changing eating cultures. Similarly, the economies of food production and of food products, such as coffee and potatoes, have had profound cultural impact, often crossing national and cultural boundaries and thus blending and mixing different cultures. From the 16th-century journey of potatoes from the ‘New’ to the ‘Old’ World to the 20th-century fears of McDonaldization, food is a matter of history, economics, politics, and culture most generally.
While the cultural significance of food is unquestioned, food crises like BSE, bird flu, swine flu, or various hunger catastrophes fuel heated public discussions as to the proper production of food, of healthy diets, and of the distribution of food. Here, the question of ‘eating right’ becomes an arena for the social negotiation of ethics of consumption: Organic? Local? Vegan? Vegetarian? Discussions of these food choices, as much as of food-related illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, and various eating disorders, give evidence of the complex relationships between food, the (gendered) human body, and social values.
In literary and cultural studies, then, food often serves as a site at which to explore complex cultural or (inter)personal dynamics. The gendered discourse of cooking, e.g., is traditionally connected to the domestic sphere and to sensuality but can simultaneously function as a source of identity, just as regional and ethnic foods do. In media, food is omnipresent: Food documentaries, culinary travel reports, cooking shows, and ‘food porn’ are only some examples of the importance of food in expressing cultural values.
aspeers, the first and currently only graduate-level peer-reviewed journal of European American studies, invites fellow graduate students to reflect on the diverse roles and meanings of food in American culture. Please note that the contributions we are looking for might address but are not limited to the topical parameters outlined above. We welcome term papers, excerpts from theses, or papers specifically written for the occasion by 30 October 2011. If you are seeking to publish work beyond this topic, please refer to our general Call for Papers. Please consult our submission guidelines and additional information at www.aspeers.com/2012.
A familiar proverb tells us that ‘we are what we eat.’ Indeed, food is not only a daily necessity to sustain the body. The need for food, its production, its preparation, and its consumption turn it into a crucial cultural site and an important arena of the negotiation of social meanings. With its fifth issue, aspeers is aiming to cast a thematic spotlight on 'food' and its meanings in relation to American(ized) culture. We are accordingly interested in creative work examining impressions of food and the cultural uses it serves as a complex signifier.
For its open submission section, aspeers hereby calls for artistic contributions exploring the topic of “American Food Culture.” A list of possible contributions includes, but is not limited to:
- photography that investigates the displaying of food and the meanings attached to it;
- collages (text, audio, or any other material) revising or questioning the meanings frequently ascribed to food;
- journals, videos, or interviews on the role food, eating, or eating disorders play in communicating biographies;
- or any other artistic exploration of the topic: the open submission section is an experimental space.
We will consider for inclusion all submissions regardless of the author’s institutional affiliation, geographic location, or level of study. Nonprintable material selected for publication will be included on the journal homepage. Plastic art will be on display in Leipzig at the issue’s launch ceremony and will be presented as still image in the paper and online edition.
Please consult our submission guidelines, an editorial timetable, as well as additional information at www.aspeers.com/2012. To be considered, contributions must be in by 27 November 2011.